April 22, 2014

I Pick, U Pick, We Pick

 

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we had a blast picking blueberries over the weekend with the folks at Southern Hill Farms in Clermont. 

The owners were so hospitable, the land was sprawling and gorgeous and the blueberries were literally the best we have ever had. I’m not even kidding.  Just ask Mike, he is STILL raving about it.

 

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Southern Hill Farms is a family owned and operated u-pick and commercially harvested blueberry farm, as well as a wholesale ornamental tree farm. We are located atop one of Central Florida’s rare and picturesque rolling hills in Clermont, FL, just southwest of Orlando. We planted our first crop of blueberries in 2010 and currently have 40 acres of blueberry bushes on our 120 acre farm. We welcome guests to our family friendly blueberry u-pick farm when the blueberries are ready to be harvested at the peak of their ripeness, usually during the months of April and May.

 

We arrived around 1pm and the weather was overcast and breezy…almost a little cool.  I had never been blueberry picking before – at least not that I can remember – and didn’t know what to expect.  I didn’t really even know what blueberry bushes looked like and was hoping that we wouldn’t be doing a lot of bending over like with strawberry picking.

Well, we hit the jackpot.  The blueberry bushes were tall, almost like small trees and there was hardly any bending at all.  Score.  The top of the bushes were perfect for the adults and the bottom was the perfect height for E.

 

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After a quick introduction (Everett goes to daycare with the owners’ grandchildren) and a short how-to lesson, we were off and picking. 

The rules: 

  1. Do not cut through rows (to protect the plants/fruit).
  2. Only pick the dark blue berries.

Simple enough.

We kept E in the stroller in the beginning (the rows are very stroller accessible), and just kept feeding him the goods.  He loved it and couldn’t seem to get enough.  He and Mike were in blueberry heaven.

 

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The bushes were full of berries and we honestly didn’t see one bad berry.  There were some that weren’t ripe yet, but none that looked rotten or spoiled…I’m telling you, the blueberries there are GORGEOUS (and huge!).

 

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I couldn’t even believe that the blueberry glasses stayed on the whole time!  Yessss!

 

Blueberry Picking–Southern Hill Farms 4/19/14

 

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Straight from the bush directly into the mouth – you can’t get any fresher than that!  Forget farm to table – that is farm to belly!

 

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We left with $7 worth of blueberries that in a grocery store would have cost us about $20 without all of the memories.  I encourage all of you in the central Florida area to go check out Southern Hill Farms.  I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Here are the specifics from the Southern Hills website-

2014 Blueberry U-pick Season Information

We will begin our u-pick on Saturday, April 12, 2014 for our grand opening at 9 am! We will be serving blueberry pancakes from 9 am to 12 noon for you to enjoy, free of charge. We will be open on Saturdays and Sundays through the end of May, however we will be closed on Sunday, April 20 in observance of Easter. We are looking forward to picking blueberries with you, your friends and family soon!

2014 Pricing
  • $4/lb u-pick blueberries.
  • Free parking.
  • Concession snacks and drinks available for purchase.
  • CASH ONLY.

Please remember to bring a hat and/or sunscreen. There is a barn with seating available for when you need shade. We will provide you with a bucket to pick your blueberries, as well as a clamshell to take them home in. Please see the Blueberry U-Pick tab on the left for more information.

 

Click here for your coupon!

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So then, the question becomes, “What do you do with nearly 2 pounds of blueberries?”.  Well, blueberry danish of course!

Here’s how:

 

Blueberry Danish

Click here to print!

 

  • 1 box puff pastry {2 sheets}, thawed to room temperature

Filling

  • 2 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  • 1-1/2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Frosting

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. Heavy Cream (or milk)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • pinch of salt
  • chopped almonds, walnuts or pecans (optional)

 

Directions:

Lay one whole pastry sheet onto a greased cookie sheet (or Silpat lined).  Mix softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla extract together until well blended.  Spread on top of pastry sheet.

Top with blueberries.

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Cut second puff pastry sheet into 10 long strips.  Weave strips on top of blueberries.

Bake at 375 F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

 

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Pipe or drizzle the frosting to be fancy schmancy and sprinkle with chopped nuts if desired (I totally forgot to add the fanciness to mine – we were too excited to try it!).

Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. First of all, that looks like so much fun! I bet Everett had a blast - too cute. Second - that danish is calling my name! YUM!! :)

    ReplyDelete